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Multnomah Falls Hike

From Portland Hikers Field Guide

The Benson Bridge at Multnomah Falls is a recognized piece of Oregon history. (Steve Hart)
Multnomah Falls (Steve Hart)
Viewpoint at the top of the falls (Steve Hart)
Appoximate track of the trial

Contents

Hike Description

The trail begins at Multnomah Falls Lodge, a historic building built to serve early automobile travelers in 1925. In 1981, the Multnomah Falls Lodge and Footpath were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There is a restaurant, gift shop and tourist center inside the lodge, as well as public restrooms. Northwest stereotypes aside, this is probably the only northwest trailhead with a coffee stand. In December 2006, the lodge is getting a new roof, so watch for scaffolding.

The first part of the trail is a gently sloped 2/10 mile trail to the Benson Bridge, built in 1914 by Simon Benson, one of the builders of the old highway. The bridge is probably the most photographed piece of architecture in Oregon. This part of the trail is a paved cakewalk, although one small flight of a few stairs block the way to wheelchairs beyond the lower falls viewpoint.

Beyond the bridge, the asphalt trail switches up steeply for another mile to a ridge crest. Look for Columbia River views as you ascend. From the top, the trail drops slightly to a junction with a trail labeled "Top of the Falls Trail #441A" on some old Forest Service documents. Today's signs just say "viewpoint". The asphalt follows the side path to the Multnomah Falls Upper Viewpoint, a balcony of sorts at the lip of the falls looking down on the lodge and the less motivated people below. Most people take in this view, grab a couple of snapshots and return down the steep hill to that mocha latte thing.

Consider hiking further on the Larch Mountain Trail. Details are listed under the Larch Mountain Hike.

Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

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Trip Reports

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Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Hiking Oregon's Geology, by Ellen Morris Bishop
  • 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Portland, by Paul Gerald
  • Afoot and Afield Portland/Vancouver, by Douglas Lorain
  • 35 Hiking Trails, Columbia River Gorge, by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Columbia River Gorge, 42 Scenic Hikes, by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Hiking the Columbia River Gorge - 1st and 2nd Editions, by Russ Schneider

More Links

Contributors

Portland Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.